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September 10, 2023

Playoff Pulse: Analyzing the postseason field after Kansas

After the second race of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, here’s a rapid look at the playoff picture. There is one race left in the Round of 16 — Saturday night’s showdown at Bristol Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET, USA, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, NBC Sports App).


Tyler Reddick led just two of the 268 laps, capitalizing in an overtime frenzy to secure a win in the Hollywood Casino 400. Reddick started fifth and converted for his second win of the season, his first at the 1.5-mile Kansas track and the fifth of his Cup Series career. The triumph — his first since March at Circuit of The Americas — sends him to the Round of 12, keeping him free of the threat of elimination in the opening round’s finale.

RELATED: Race results


Denny Hamlin. The Joe Gibbs Racing veteran hasn’t won in the opening round of the Cup Series Playoffs, but he’s been among the most impressive performers. He led 63 laps and dominated the final stage as he logged a runner-up finish Sunday at Kansas. That result comes on the heels of leading a race-best 177 laps in the playoff-opener at Darlington Raceway before fading to a 25th-place outcome.

Kyle Larson. Last week’s winner stayed on a positive swing, leading the most laps (99) and rallying from a brief Stage 2 fade to net his fourth top-five result in the last five Kansas races. Larson has already advanced to the next postseason round but heads to Bristol, where he’s led multiple laps in seven of the last eight races on the high-banked concrete oval.


Martin Truex Jr. The regular-season champ’s safety net of playoff points has all but evaporated after a Lap 4 crash left the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing driver with a last-place finish in the 36-car field. The early exit, combined with a 23rd in the postseason opener at Darlington, leaves Truex at risk of elimination at Bristol.

Bubba Wallace. The 23XI Racing driver still sits below the provisional elimination line, and he dipped further in the standings after a 32nd-place result at Kansas — four laps off the pace. The outcome didn’t reflect Wallace’s early strength at Kansas, a track where he posted his second Cup Series victory last season. Sunday, he finished a solid second in Stage 1 and was running in that position when he encountered the outside retaining wall.


9Chris Buescher13
10Christopher Bell13
11Joey Logano12
12Kevin Harvick7
13Martin Truex Jr.-7
14Bubba Wallace-19
15Ricky Stenhouse Jr.-22
16Michael McDowell-40